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Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
  • Adoption Strands Local Couple Overseas in Latvia

  • Larry and Kelly McManus of Brookfield have a big family, and big enough hearts for their nine children. After having five kids biologically, the couple decided to adopt more kids. But it was over the course of their most recent adoption that the pair became stranded in Latvia, unable to return home with their new children.
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  • Larry and Kelly McManus of Brookfield have a big family, and big enough hearts for their nine children. After having five kids biologically, the couple decided to adopt more kids. But it was over the course of their most recent adoption that the pair became stranded in Latvia, unable to return home with their new children.
    The McManus’ adopted one child domestically, after having five of their own biologically. “We are blessed with five biological children,” said Larry. “Our oldest child is 20 now. We did adopt in the U.S. once, and then these three internationally. So we have nine kids in total.”
    “We learned about these three children from New Horizons for Children,” said Kelly. “This is an orphan hosting program for children.”
    According the the New Horizons for Children website, the group’s mission is as follows:  
    “We are a nationwide orphan ministry that works with families from coast-to-coast, including Puerto Rico...This can be a life-changing experience for the orphans who have never been a part of a loving, functional family. And at their age, 6-16 years old, they are the least likely candidates to ever be adopted; most believe they are unwanted and have no hope of ever knowing life in a real family.”
    The McManus’ love for children overseas, and for adoption in general, has been long-seated in both of their hearts. “Larry and I had both gone on mission trips when we were in high school,” explained Kelly. “We had a heart for children overseas, after seeing the way they live. After we got married, we talked about it and realized that we both wanted to adopt an international child. But every time we would begin the process, we would get pregnant, which stopped our plans.”
    Kelly continued:  “When we knew that we were not likely to have any more biological children, we became licensed foster parents in the state of Indiana. We fostered to adopt our son and went through that process. We thought we were done, but God had other plans.”
    Eventually, the McManus’ found New Horizons for Children, and the three Latvian children who were soon to join their growning family. “We took interest in New Horizons for Children,” said Kelly. “They have a great program. They have photo listings, and we saw the listing for these three kids. I was smitten with them.”
    Initially, the McManus’ hosted the kids for Christmas in 2012. There were hurdles, but things ended up going well, according to the family. “They couldn’t speak English, and we couldn’t speak Latvian, so there was a lot of sign language going on,” laughed Kelly. “But there was a lot of stretching as well; for us, for our biological children, and for the girls. But it was the best thing we could have done. Before they left, we had to make a decision. Thanks to our foster care training, we knew how to look for bondability. After a lot of prayer, we said we wanted to start the process.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The McManus’ had three trips overseas, at their own time and expense, to complete the adoption process with the Latvian and American governments. The first trip, the couple went together, the second trip saw Kelly go to a hearing overseas about the adoption, the third and final trip was to clear the immigration hurdle, and make the kids U.S. Citizens.
    “There were a couple of different delays,” explained Larry. “The attorney in Latvia informed us that a Lavian family was interesed in a group of three to adopt as well. Our group of three, and a similar group of three were available for adoption. It took a couple of months for them to get back to us with a final yes that they were available.”
    The McManus’ got the children they wanted, though, and a second trio of Latvian kids went to another couple, finding their home as well. So, what led the McManus’ to adoption? Larry explains that their Christian faith guided their steps.
    “Our faith has had a lot to do with our choices to adopt,” Larry began. “It is really clear in the book of James that true religion is to take care of the orphans and the widows. Because we feel that this is a way we can contribute, we want to do as much as we can. Some people may say that we went beyond the limits, but we didn’t see the limits.”
    So on the final trip, Larry and Kelly McManus were hopeful for no more hiccups that could delay them from coming home to their family. Sadly, a simple computer glitch proved to be a costly hurdle for the couple to overcome.
    “The government had reported a glitch and then a crash in their newly-integrated computer software system that was supposed to be more able to communicate with other government agencies,” explained Larry. “That week we were there, they were unable to print visas. So they were unable to print visas worldwide. This affected over a half-million people worldwide.”
    Thankfully, a well-placed letter, as well as some phone calls and e-mails from back home, would gain the McManus’ a powerful ally who went to work for them. “To their credit, we got a hold of State Representative Sam Graves,” said Kelly. “We were the first ones at the Latvian Embassy to get our Visas printed after five days. We couldn’t fly out immedately due to the demand for flights out of the country, so we had to wait a couple more days for that as well.”
    But after a week, the McManus’ were home with all of their children. As far as answering the question of whether or not it is all worth it, the couple was quick with a positive answer. “The most rewarding part has been seeing their gratitude and love returned,” said Larry. “They just soak up the love we have to offer from the whole family, our kids and us.”

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